A year in Doha and the temperatures are creeping up again!

Unbelievable but true - it was a year ago exactly that I arrived in Qatar!!  And what a year its been!!  New friends, new language, new culture, new experiences, and new job of course!  And Ive had to get used to the sun shining almost every day!  What a hardship!  But for a bad weather junkie, I initially missed the rain a great deal.  i love storms, wind , torrential downpours, hail, snow, you name it!!

Listening to the rain on my window on a Sunday morning was one of my great pleasures in life!  I wondered how I would cope without it.  But now I am used to the relative predictability of the sunshine and the ease with which I can do things and go about my business without thinking…. "what will the weather do today?".    I can pop out to the Corniche or the Souq for a walk, go for a run or go shopping  and I don't need to carry my 'just in case' umbrella!!

Strangely enough though, this year has been the wettest people here can remember.  There have been occasional days when it has rained all day and night!!  Now that is unheard of here.  So much so, that they do not have drains here because, as a rule, they don't need them.  That does have its downsides when you get a deluge, because the place floods immediately, as you can see in this photo taken beside my hotel!

Just last week we had alot of rain. Water was pouring through the ceiling in the Arabic Channel and even our project portacabin appears to be sinking at one end now because the ground has shifted due to the amount of water.  My taxi ride into work really did feel like a gloomy London morning in November and it was funny listening to my Arabic colleagues complaining of not being able to see to drive because of the spray on the roads!!  

And I finally did fall asleep to the sound of rain on my window for the first time here in a year!  The winter was longer and cooler than I had expected and lasted from November right through to March - almost 5 months.  But the temperatures started to creep up a little a month ago and then suddenly on one day, it was as if someone had switched the oven back on!  A little bit like in the UK when we switch from summer to autumn but in reverse!  You always get that one day when everything changes!

Even the guys are now wearing their summer thobes again - all white, and I can go out without a jacket and scarf!  I was shocked at how cold it got during December and January, particularly in the evenings…… OK, about 10 degrees (its all relative!!).  When I was out with the guys having coffee or shisha outside (my dear friend Nasser pictured here), we were shivering!!  They were wearing long sleeved and long legged thermal underwear under their thobes!…. but thankfully remained in their sandals and suffered the cold, rather than suffer the indignity of the shoes and socks with thobe combination!  That is not a good look in anyone's look-book !  

The weather has been pretty crazy, particularly recently, and there have been some amazing thunder storms.  Just last week, we had a couple of crackers and standing on my balcony, I witnessed lightning landing on the roof of a house just below me.  It exploded like a fire ball with an incredible sound!  It was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen!

Sadly I didn't catch that particular moment on camera - didn't even see it coming,  it was a total shock and, I must admit, made me back away rather rapidly into my room!!

However, just a couple of nights ago, we had another spectacular storm and I caught the image above plus the following images…… they show the view from the balcony before and then during one lightning strike.

The view went from this………

….to this………..!!!!!

The temperatures over the last few days have been creeping up and up - into the low to mid 30s again…..and it will keep going higher into the 40s in July and August before it cools down again in October.  At least when Im running around Al Jazeera (pictured) in the sticky summer heat,  I can look forward to the chilly winter evenings to come!!

And as the heat rises again, I feel the memories of my first days and weeks here coming back to me when I fell under the spell of this fascinatingly complex, diverse and exciting country.  I can only hope that I get the chance for another year of adventure but then uncertainty is a big part of life here - even the weather is now becoming unpredictable!….so who knows?


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